The Miami Dolphins shipped away another one of the team’s major free-agent signings of 2020, sending former Miami Hurricanes standout Ereck Flowers back to the Washington Football Team, according to a league source.
Flowers, who started 14 games for the Dolphins at left guard after being acquired from Washington last offseason, fell short of the team’s expectations — much like linebacker Kyle Van Noy (who was released, and then re-signed with the New England Patriots) and pass rusher Shaq Lawson (who was traded to the Houston Texans).
The trade that sends Flowers, a former first-round pick who has started 85 of the 89 games he’s played in the NFL, to Washington is more about creating cap space ($8 million) than acquiring draft picks, since it only featured a swap of seventh-round selections (Miami gets WTF’s pick No. 244 in exchange for pick 258 according to the NFL Network) in this week’s draft.
As for who replaces Flowers, the Dolphins have a number of in-house options like Michael Deiter, a former third-round pick who started all but one game at left guard in 2019, and Jesse Davis, who has started 56 games at every position but center on the Dolphins’ offensive line the past four seasons.
The Dolphins also have a high opinion of Adam Pankey, who the team re-signed to a one-year deal worth $1,065,000 this offseason, and he could be in the mix for an elevated role.
Miami also signed veteran offensive lineman DJ Fluker earlier this month. He has started 96 of the 108 games he’s played in the NFL the past eight seasons, most of which has occurred on the right side of the line.
That’s where Robert Hunt and Solomon Kindley, two second-year players who started most of the 2020 season, played. Both have position flexibility. Kindley, the Dolphins’ 2020 fourth-round pick, played left guard at the University of Georgia, and Miami flirted with the idea of Hunt, the Dolphins’ 2020 second-round pick, playing right guard last season. Hunt was cross-trained to play both right guard and right tackle last season.
The Dolphins could also select an offensive lineman early in the 2021 draft, and could be in position to draft Oregon’s Penei Sewell, Northwestern’s Rashawn Slater, and USC’s Alijah Vera-Tucker, who are the draft’s three top-rated offensive linemen, with one of the team’s two first-round picks (No. 6, and No. 18).
The Dolphins could also address the offensive line with one of the team’s other draft picks. Miami has four of the draft’s top-50 selections, and a mid-level third-round selection (pick No. 81). After that, the Dolphins own one pick in the fifth-round and two in the seventh.
It is possible that Flowers won’t be the only veteran player traded this week considering the NFL draft begins on Thursday night.
General manager Chris Grier has made more trades than any other NFL executive in his three seasons at the helm of the Dolphins.
One player who could possibly be on the move is cornerback Xavien Howard, who has expressed the desire to have his contract reworked considering he’s paid much less than his counterpart, Byron Jones, who the Dolphins signed to a five-year, $82.5 million deal.
Jones will earn $14 million this season and the Dolphins will pay him $40 million over the course of the 2020 and 2021 seasons. Howard, who led the NFL with 10 interceptions last season, will earn $24 million during those same seasons.